What to wear to an afternoon wedding

flyer for post about afternoon wedding attire etiquette

Afternoon wedding dress-code

The dress-code of an afternoon wedding is semi-formal which calls for cocktail dresses, LBDs or party dresses.

Fit-and-flare, sheath, high-low hem dresses or retro inspired (read 50s) are great choices for the cut. If you like to dance, go for a dress with a pleated or flare to circle skirt. Be sure to wear bikers in a matching color underneath to not show too much leg when you twirl. If there is a religious ceremony involved, don’t go strapless or spaghetti straps. If you absolutely want that dress, have a little cover-up like a jacket in the same fabric as your dress or a fancy coat.

Watch the fabric

Taffeta, tulle, chiffon, lace, jacquard or silk are great fabrics. Steer away from anything to daytime like cotton, jersey, or denim.

#weedingattire 40+ woman in a LBD
Victoria Victoria Beckham military style dress, collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)

Avoid the color of the bridal party

Color-wise everything from pastel to gemstone bright colors goes. In the US, find out the color of the bridal party, so you do not choose the same color. Always avoid white unless you are the bride. In many European countries, wearing a LBD to a wedding would not be a good choice. In the US it is ok, when the vibe clearly states party. Medium sized (size of your hand) floral print cocktail dresses work well too with metallic pumps or pumps in a color of the print or dress.

Wear wedge heels at an outdoor wedding

If the party is outside, go for elegant wedge heels that match the vibe of your dress. They help you walk on the lawn and not to stick in the lawn. You want to wear the new shoes still after the wedding party is over. Peep toe pumps are a great option with shorter dresses. If the fabric of the dress is matte go for patent leather pumps in the same color of black. Nude patent leather is a great option for gemstone colored dresses. Blush or metallic pumps work nicely with pastel shade dresses. In the US, a black pants suit with chiffon top or a tuxedo are great choices too.

Don’t match the color of the clutch and shoes

Choose a bag in a different color than your shoes, unless you are in your twenties. On us 40+, matching bag and shoes looks so Seventies and screams Old Lady. A metallic clutch with patent leather heels or a patent leather clutch with metallic heels work. A sequin clutch with matte open-toe pumps all in neighbored colors of the color wheel or in the same color family are great combinations.
For a modern look, don't match the colors of your clutch and shoes. #advancedstyle Click To Tweet

Dim down the glam

Go for just one statement jewelry piece like a large cocktail ring, large dangling earrings or a statement necklace.

Be aware about the no-nos

Avoid the following four most often made style faux pas:

  1. Religious jewelry of your own faith when there will be a service of another faith.
  2. Skimpy or provocative clothes including corsages and belly-free attire except for saris.
  3. Jeans and T-shirts, baseball caps, large view-blocking hats.
  4. Casual footwear or bags to your otherwise semi-formal outfit.

Here are some outfit inspirations.

#fashionover50 inspiration what to wear to a semi-formal wedding High-low hem lace cocktail dress with Neo Tango sandals (all own). The brooch attached to the tail of the skirt is unexpected and adds interestfashion over 50 woman in a semi-formal wedding outfit High-low hem floral print chiffon dress with beading and sequins and build-in lace slip, statement necklace and earrings, and Dalmatian Neo Tango print heels

woman in wedding guest outfit Victoria Victoria Beckham cat print pleated drop-waist silk dress with pumps silk scarf, and  statement necklace (all own)style over 50 woman in spring coat Banana Republic silk coat for cover up at an afternoon wedding. A tote permits carrying an extra pair of shoes for comfort. Make sure it matches the dress. Check the coat and tote at the coat rack

You can find inspirations for a beach wedding, a civil wedding, and a formal wedding at the links.

LOTD: Military inspired work outfit

I am wearing a military inspired black dress for work.

#fashionover50  little black dress with back zipper for an afternoon nuptial party
Back view of Victoria Victoria Beckham military style dress with collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)
#styleover40 LBD for an afternoon wedding
Front view of Victoria Victoria Beckham military style dress with collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)

Will you attend a wedding this summer? Have you already picked the dress?

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Photos: G. Kramm

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